Grab your slow cooker and just four ingredients, and get ready to dig into these ultra tender and flavorful BBQ Chicken Thighs! Cooking chicken thighs in the crock pot makes them absolutely delicious, with hardly any work at all!
Why We Love It
It’s no secret I love bbq chicken! In the warm weather I love to grill up some bbq chicken drumsticks, but my favorite way to cook chicken thighs? In the crock pot!
Because when you slow cook your chicken thighs using this method, they’re:
- So easy to make
- Fall-apart tender and super moist
- Full of rich bbq flavor
Best of all, you only need four ingredients, and it can be customized to your dietary preferences! That means whether you’re following Whole30, Keto, or any other way of eating, you can make this recipe work for you.
- Chicken Thighs. Use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for the most flavor. You can totally substitute boneless chicken thighs or chicken breasts and simply adjust the cook time a bit (the instructions are included below!).
- BBQ Sauce. Use any bbq sauce brand you enjoy, or use my homemade Whole30 BBQ Sauce recipe.
- Onion. The onion adds a bit of flavor and texture that perfectly compliments the tender chicken.
- BBQ Spices, optional. For extra bbq flavor and oomph, sprinkle in some of my homemade bbq spice blend.
👉 You can customize the recipe to suit your dietary restrictions. If following Whole30, use a compatible bbq sauce sauce. If you’re following Keto/Low Carb, use a brand made without sugar.
👉 To make it a complete meal, add 1-2 pounds of baby potatoes to the slow cooker. You can cook two things at once, as long as you don’t totally overcrowd the slow cooker!
👉 I get all my chicken from Porter Road & highly recommend their service.
Step 1: Assemble the ingredients.
Add the sliced onion and chicken thighs to the slow cooker. Season the chicken with the bbq spices (if using), then spoon the bbq sauce on top. 👉You don’t need to add any additional liquid to the crock pot! Trust me on this one.
Step 2: Cover and cook on high for 3.5-4 hours or low for 6-6.5 hours. Once the chicken is fall apart tender (test it by trying to cut it with a fork), it’s ready! As an added bonus, your house smells fantastic at this point.
Step 3: Use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the cooked chicken thighs and serve immediately with some of the liquid from the crock pot spooned on top.
You can turn the slow cooker to the “Keep Warm” function for up to an hour, until you’re ready to eat it. The chicken will continue to very slowly cook even on this setting, so I don’t recommend using it for longer than an hour.
Step 4 (optional): Preheat your broiler. Set the chicken on a lined baking sheet, and place it on an oven rack 3-5 inches beneath the broiler. Allow it to crisp up the skin a bit. This usually only takes 3-4 minutes, depending on the strength of your broiler.
I like to serve the chicken with a sweet potato, pickled onions, spaghetti squash, pineapple slaw, broccoli slaw, or sweet potato fries. It also goes great with a classic side salad or rolls. Pretty much any of your favorite bbq sides will work great!
Definitely! For boneless chicken breasts or thighs, follow the same instructions but keep an eye on it close to end of cook time so as not to overcook the meat. In the slow cooker, chicken breasts should cook for about 3-4 hours on high or 5.5-6 hours on low.
To cook in the Instant Pot:
1. Add the chicken, bbq sauce, onions, bbq spices, AND 1/4-1/2 cup of water to your Instant Pot. Close the lid and set it to High Pressure to cook for 15 minutes.
2. Allow a Manual Pressure Release for 10 minutes, then turn or press the steam release valve for a Quick Pressure Release.
To store leftover chicken thighs, transfer them to an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, per USDA.
Yes! To make oven baked bbq chicken thighs, place the seasoned chicken thighs in a baking dish and cook in a preheated 400°F (204°C) oven. Cook for 25 minutes, then brush the chicken generously with bbq sauce. Return to the oven and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
More Slow Cooker Recipes
- Italian Lamb Shoulder
- Mississippi Chicken
- Sweet Hawaiian Chicken
- Lots more Whole30 Slow Cooker Recipes
Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs
- 2.5 lb chicken thighs, bone-in and skin on, about 6-7 thighs
- 1 cup bbq sauce
- 1 medium onion sliced
- 1 Tablespoon bbq seasoning optional
- Close the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 3.5-4 hours or low for 5.5-6.5 hours, until the chicken is tender.
- Use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the cooked chicken thighs and serve immediately with some of the liquid and onions from the crock pot spooned on top.
- Optional Step: If you like crispy skin, preheat your broiler. Set the chicken thighs on a parchment lined baking sheet, and place it on an oven rack 3-5 inches beneath the broiler. Allow it to crisp up the skin a bit, about 3-4 minutes. Watch carefully to avoid burning.